Thousands of Americans suffer with ulcerative colitis. In fact the U.S. National Library of Medicine states that more than 750,000 North Americans have ulcerative colitis, affecting anywhere from 40 to 240 in every 100,000 people.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. This form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects the inner lining of the rectum and large intestine (colon). Causing painful inflammation and sores/ulcers, it usually starts low at the rectum, and extends up through to the colon. Ulcerative colitis is considered a chronic disease, where symptoms may be extreme for a period of time and at other times very mild, even completely absent.
Ulcerative colitis is unfortunately quite uncomfortable for many people. Symptoms may include:
The goal of medication is to help keep the patient’s symptoms in remission for as long as possible.
Pentasa® is in the class of drugs called aminosalicylates, which work to decrease swelling in the colon. The active ingredient in Pentasa® is mesalamine.
Prescription Pentasa®, in capsule or tablet form, is usually taken orally four times per day, with meals. These pills must be swallowed whole. If needed, the capsule can be opened, and the contents sprinkled onto applesauce and then taken immediately.
Pentasa® suppositories are also available and are intended for rectal use only. The suppositories allow the active ingredient, mesalamine, to be released slowly and locally, to help reduce pain and inflammation.
Pentasa® is also available in an enema formulation. Some doctors will combine the oral medication with the enema treatment.
Pentasa® pills – 500 mg and 1000 mg
Pentasa® suppositories – 1 g suppositories
Pentasa® enema – 4 g/100 mL
This medication is prescribed according to your medical needs and your medical condition. You should not increase or decrease your dose without instructions from your doctor.
Common side effects of this medication include diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting. Always tell your doctor if the side effects get worse or if you experience any other side effects. Your pharmacist will be able to give you a list of common side effects, as well as potentially serious side effects, to be aware of.
There is no known cause for ulcerative colitis. However, there may be certain factors that contribute to this disease, such as an overactive intestinal immune system or genetics.
Ulcerative colitis usually appears between the ages of 15 and 30, or after the age of 60. It is also often found in people who have family members who have IBD.
When a patient presents with symptoms of ulcerative colitis, the doctor will perform a medical and family history, order lab tests (to check for anemia, infections, low albumin or protein) and stool tests and will usually order endoscopies of the large intestine. A physical examination will also be done, checking for abdominal swelling and pain.
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Need support? Visit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation at https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org
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This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnoses or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).
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